Renault Hydrogen-EV Hybrid Claims Best of all Worlds

French automaker Renault may have been at the forefront of BEV promotion but now it has unveiled a concept that claims to be a hydrogen-battery hybrid.

At the same time, its Scenic Vision concept claims other ecological credentials including that 70% of its materials are recycled and 95% are recyclable. Its hydrogen hybrid, using both electric and hydrogen power, claims fewer and shorter recharge stops. Its carbon footprint, including the battery, is much smaller, being 75% lower than that of a conventional electric car.

This system has a new-generation 160 kW electrically excited synchronous motor derived directly from the Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric’s motor and is made at the plant in Cléon. It uses no rare-earth elements, which helps to reduce its carbon footprint and create a responsible and sustainable ecosystem.

The diminutive 40 kWh battery is recyclable and will be made in France by 2024 at the Renault ElectriCity Gigafactory. It is lighter, smaller and costs less than a battery for a similar EV. It also has a 15 kW fuel cell to recharge it during long drives and thus extend its range. The automaker assumes that by 2030, once the network of hydrogen stations is large enough, it will be possible to drive nearly 500 miles, with the hydrogen tank able to be refilled in five minutes or less.

The concept uses a new platform that is currently in the prototyping phase at Renault Group’s innovation labs. The platform is purpose-designed to fit all the components: the electric motor, hydrogen engine, battery, fuel cell and hydrogen tank. The engine is at the rear, so there is enough space for the 2.5 kg hydrogen tank at the front; the fuel cell is under the floor, at the back of the platform, behind the battery.

Working as a hybrid, the car can be driven as a conventional EV, without using the fuel cell, on daily trips. When there is a requirement to travel longer distances, a route planner calculates the power the fuel cell needs to supply to keep the battery charged for longer, so that there is no need to charge it on the way. The point of using the fuel cell on long journeys is that it’s quicker to top up the hydrogen tank than to charge the battery. This way, there is no need to charge the battery until the car reaches its destination. When the weather is cold, the hydrogen range-extender also keeps the battery at the right temperate for optimal operation and extra range.

Renault Group is also developing green, low-carbon and responsible batteries. It has rearranged its entire value chain to preserve resources and cut carbon emissions. The aim is to reduce the batteries’ carbon footprint by 60%, both by decarbonizing the energy used to assemble them and with a more responsible supply chain.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


  1. Avatar JAMES D HANLON 30th May 2022 @ 3:17 pm

    This is the most positive article I have read ‘to date’ regarding the role of Hydrogen in the Automotive Industry. I feel that the support for Hydrogen is starting to take root and will eventually dominate transportation as well as energy in general. Kudos!

    • TU-Editor TU-Editor 30th May 2022 @ 4:18 pm

      I tend to agree and if we can get more ICE retrofitted to run hydrogen together with new burning models from particularly Japanese automakers, then there’s a real chance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles far quicker than with a blinkered BEV approach. It would also help service station operators to invest in hydrogen dispensing pumps ready for the fuel cell revolution.

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